With brazen backing from the globalist establishment, socialist despots, as well as U.S. and international crime syndicates, “former” communist-terrorist “commander” Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the Obama administration-subsidized FMLN appears set to win the presidency in El Salvador’s upcoming runoff election this weekend. If he wins, as is widely expected based on recent polls, the mass-murderer — a close ally of the communist Castro regime in Cuba — will become the latest ex-Marxist guerrilla to lead a U.S. taxpayer-funded Latin American national government.
As The New American magazine has documented extensively, the region is already dominated by a closely knit network of foreign-backed socialist tyrants. However, critics of the Salvadorian party’s history of violence and mass-murder, as well as its radical future plans for the nation, are sounding the alarm. Communists around the world, including the Communist Party USA, on the other hand, are already celebrating their latest anticipated victory in the ongoing subjugation of Latin America.
Sánchez Cerén with the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a ruthless Marxist terror group backed by the Soviets that became a political party, won a plurality of the vote on February 2. If he wins the upcoming March 9 run-off election against Norman Quijano of the more liberty-friendly ARENA party, critics around the world and domestic victims of the terror organization are warning that the major problems ravishing El Salvador will only accelerate.
In a recent heart-breaking TV advertisement by victims of Sánchez Cerén’s reign of terror during his time as “commander” of the Soviet-backed FMLN, the family members of Salvadorians slain by the presidential hopeful point out that, as a mass-murderer, he is not constitutionally qualified for the office. Sánchez Cerén recently apologized for the slaughter during the civil war, which ended in 1992, saying, “Out of the inside of my heart I apologize for the damage we put them through during the armed conflict.” For the victims’ families, however, that was not enough.
“With me are hundreds of families from San Vicente; all we are asking is that Sánchez Cerén reveal where our relatives are buried that he admits to having ordered killed,” says Maritza Herrera Rebollo, the daughter of a former education minister who was murdered in 1979 on orders from the FMLN “commander” and current presidential candidate. “As citizens we have a duty and as victims we have the right to tell you who Sánchez Cerén is, because we love our country and because the death of our loved ones cannot be in vain.” Another victim in the ad says: “Today we still do not know where to find our relatives that Sánchez Cerén ordered killed.”
The FMLN’s open connections to dictators such as Castro and Venezuela’s socialist strongman Nicolas Maduro, who unconstitutionally showers funding on the group with his regime’s “petro-dollars,” are also troubling to analysts. Sánchez Cerén even claimed recently that the embattled regime in Caracas — currently trying to brutally suppress a popular uprising by terrorizing, killing, and imprisoning the opposition — is “a light that will illuminate Latin America, the Caribbean and the world.”
The Salvadorian mass-murderer’s fondness for other socialist tyrants and his militant anti-Americanism are, of course, well known. In 2001, after the September 11 attacks, Sánchez Cerén even led a mob celebration and U.S. flag burning ceremony as Americans mourned the loss of thousands of innocent civilians. Now, he wants to consolidate power, smash the opposition, and rule El Salvador like his mentor Castro oppresses the people of Cuba.
The ruling party’s widely acknowledged links to ongoing Marxist narco-terror campaigns across Latin America — especially the murderous FARC in Colombia, among others — are also stoking major fears about the future of El Salvador and the entire region. One of FMLN’s bosses, José Luis Merino, also a key Sánchez Cerén minion, serves as the coordinator of the party’s relationship with the communist terror group. Merino, whose role was exposed publicly after documents were recovered from a FARC terror base, was caught facilitating the group’s drug trafficking operations, weapons procurement, and more.
Perhaps even more troubling, at least to Americans, are the FMLN’s well-documented links to powerful criminal syndicates operating inside the United States — particularly the Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13 for short. The infamous street gang — notorious for murder, extortion, violence, child prostitution, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and more — terrorizes communities all across the United States and El Salvador. It has also been busy working hard to ensure FMLN success in the dubious elections.
Current Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes, also with the FMLN but a former journalist who was viewed as less radical than the ex-terrorist commander seeking to replace him, recently admitted that he personally approved payoffs and other benefits to MS-13 bosses in exchange for their political support. Other evidence exposing the brutal gang’s deep ties to FMLN and its regime in El Salvador has also been recently leaked to the press — official documents, videos, recordings, and even correspondence between Funes and an MS-13 boss promising big money and special privileges to gangsters.
While massive taxpayer funding to the FMLN regime from the Obama administration will almost certainly continue to flow, if not grow, Maduro’s socialist regime in Venezuela, faced with economic collapse and full-blown rebellion, may not be able to keep propping up El Salvador’s ruling communists with oil money for much longer. If and when those handouts from the “Bolivarian revolution” regime in Caracas stop, or even if they continue flowing, analysts suggest the FMLN could become increasingly reliant on the proceeds from criminal activities to shore up its rule.
Of course, as regular readers of The New American know well, Latin America’s Marxist narco-terror groups and gangsters intersect with the region’s socialist and communist political leaders through the Foro de São Paulo (São Paulo Forum, or FSP). The radical alliance was founded by communist dictator Fidel Castro, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, the Sandinistas, Marxist narco-terror groups such as FARC, and more, in an effort to advance totalitarianism across the Western hemisphere. Sánchez Cerén has been a fervent advocate and participant in the network, celebrating its “regional integration” plans just last year.
Today, FSP membership — around 100 political parties including the FMLN and various Marxist organizations, including terrorist groups and drug traffickers — dominate national and regional politics in the hemisphere. While already solidly in control of most Latin American governments, the dangerous outfit also dominates most of the regional “integration” regimes, such as CELAC, ALBA, and UNASUR, too. With backing from the Communist Chinese regime and other globalist forces — and with a virtual blackout on its activities in the world press — the FSP’s influence and radicalism continue to grow.
At the New York Times, however, former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador William Walker, who also served as “State Department Fellow” at the globalist Council on Foreign Relations, maintains that there is no problem at all. “We should welcome the F.M.L.N.’s statements of good faith and cooperate with it,” he wrote in the recent Times op-ed, demanding that U.S. taxpayers continue funneling aid to the future regime of a Marxist mass-murderer. He also downplayed the ruthless Marxist terror group FARC, which is waging war on the elected government of Colombia through murder and terrorism, as a mere “Colombian leftist movement.”
“When Americans demonize former F.M.L.N. commanders like Mr. Sánchez Cerén, either for their activities during the war or for accepting assistance from the Castro regime or from the political heirs of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, they are making a big mistake,” the CFR and U.S. government luminary wrote in the Times. “We should not fear the prospect of another five years of F.M.L.N. rule.” He also downplayed Sánchez Cerén’s radical plans to tighten the screws of tyranny around the people of El Salvador as merely “a more rigorous … effort to address the F.M.L.N.’s core issues — the corrosive inequality and social injustice.”
Other former U.S. officials, however, see the matter much differently. “With him at the helm and gangbangers and narco-traffickers on his team, El Salvador would be on a very dangerous course,” explained American Enterprise Institute fellow Roger Noriega, former assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere and ambassador to the Organization of American States in the George W. Bush administration. “Silence is complicity. And turning a blind eye as a narco-gang government takes power in El Salvador is a case of criminal neglect.”
The Obama administration and the U.S. embassy in San Salvador, which continue showering American taxpayer money on the FMLN regime, have formally remained neutral in the election, with no indication that the unconstitutional foreign aid will cease if Sánchez Cerén wins. However, as The New American has documented extensively, despite largely remaining quiet, the Obama administration and the Council on Foreign Relations have been critical to the ongoing communist takeover of Latin America — and it is not because they do not understand it, as a former U.S. ambassador recently made clear.
Under the Obama administration, the “Millennium Challenge Corporation” (MCC), a U.S. “foreign aid agency,” has handed out almost half of a billion dollars to El Salvador, one of four regimes selected by Washington to participate in Obama’s Partnership for Growth (PFG) initiative. Last year, the MCC, chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry with a board that includes Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and minions of billionaire George Soros, approved another $277 million to the regime. In all, El Salvador has received close to $5 billion in “development” aid from U.S. taxpayers, according to USAID.
Aside from the never-ending flow of U.S. taxpayer money to prop up FSP regimes and their state-owned “companies,” as just one obvious example of Obama’s policies in the region, consider what happened in Honduras when criminal “president” Manuel Zelaya was ousted for trampling on the constitution and the Supreme Court. Instead of remaining neutral, as the Founding Fathers would have advised, the Obama administration did its best to have the deposed would-be dictator and close Hugo Chavez ally reinstated. It even suspended foreign aid to Honduras to bully the public into submission.
While elections in tiny El Salvador may seem insignificant to most Americans, the broader trend should be highly alarming. With major help from the establishment, including radical CFR Latin America boss and Castro apologist Julia Sweig, the entire Western hemisphere is quietly but quickly being shackled under intensifying Marxist tyranny. The implications are enormous. Experts say publicly exposing the cabal and its machinations could be enough to stop it. Whether that will happen before it is too late, though, remains to be seen.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe after growing up in Latin America. He can be reached at